A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 339 - 7/10/08

Sea otter on his back at sea Solar plant in the Mojave Desert Los Angeles Times photo of firefighters in action Historic photo of Piedras Blancas Light Station Tom Acuna, BLM California Desert District Advisory Council

- Wildfire news
- Help prevent wildfires!
- Solar power on public lands
- Other energy and power lines
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
      - More wildlife news: sea otters, historic wildlife survey
- Outdoor recreation
- Wild horses and burros perform, await adoption
- BLM-California award recipients: Rangeland Specialist, Take Pride in America
- Headlines and highlights: Wild horse debate, marijuana, desert tortoises, jobs
- Meet your Advisory Council members
- Selected upcoming events

Also see this issue of News.bytes online at:

Los Angeles Times photo of firefighters in actionLos Angeles Times photo of firefighters silhouetted against nighttime flamesWILDFIRE NEWS

"Wildfire updates" (Sacramento Bee, 7/10/08)
Includes links to wildfire news, photo gallery, interactive map of Northern California wildfires and information on health risks of smoke.
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"Facing the flames" (Los Angeles Times, 7/10/08)
Links to fire-related stories, video and more than three dozen photos of wildfire impacts, firefighters doing their job and residents fleeing threatening flames from the California wildfires.
Note: this news site may require free registration to view its online content.

"Record temperatures fuel California fires" (CBS News, 7/10/08)
"A wildfire raging in the Sierra Nevada foothills turned residents into refugees as firefighters hoped Thursday's weather would help them keep the blaze from crossing a river and igniting a threatened town ... this battle against nature has already taken a major toll. Firefighters are exhausted and residents are fearful and uncertain. As fire crews try desperately to hold back the flames, entire towns remain evacuated."

"Photo Gallery: California conflagration" (San Francisco Chronicle, 7/10/08)
Photos from "the 14 active fires in the Butte Lightning Complex fire" plus link to news stories.

"National fire news"
(National Interagency fire center)
"July 10, 2008: Wildland fires throughout the country have burned 657,499 acres. The majority of the fires remain in California with 587,984 acres burned. Seven new large fires were reported: one each in Texas, Alaska, Idaho, Washington, and Nevada; and two Wildland Fire Use incidents in Colorado." Includes national fire news, plus details by state. This site is updated daily during fire season.

"Agencies look at impact on wildlife" (Capital Press, 7/4/08)
"Wildland fires are burning up thousands of acres around California, endangering homes and people - and wildlife. As the fires begin to wind down in some places, officials will be able to assess the damage to wildlands and animals and come up with response plans, but much of the repair work, ultimately, will belong to Mother Nature ... 'BLM will let nature replenish itself, plans to limit access in some areas' ..." Includes photo gallery.

"Condor OK amid ruins" (Monterey County Herald, 7/9/08)
The Basin Complex Fire left "charred trees and ash covering the slopes and making it look like a moonscape" but " Amid the ruins, there was a sign of life. Perched on a rock was a condor, No. 340 ... Covered with a thin layer of ash, the bird stood virtually motionless...."

"Officials predict longer and stronger fire season" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 7/7/08)
"More and more people want ... a place in the forest. That raises the potential of more fires started by humans -- cigarettes carelessly tossed; campfires that aren't dead; fires meant to burn weeds or garbage that instead get away. In California, drought, high temperatures and lightning storms have contributed to more than 800 square miles being burned since June 20. 'What we're concerned about now is California is very active at a much earlier date than it usually is,' said Don Smurthwaite, a spokesman for the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise.

"Is fire season out of control?" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/6/08)
"'When it starts this early, you talk to the wife and warn her that it will be a long summer,' said [Cal Fire Capt. Allan] Lippe, one of more than 300 firefighters from the San Diego region now on fire lines from Big Sur to the Oregon border. That alarm is spreading across California. The sheer extent of the hundreds of lightning-caused fires raging in the state since June 20 has strained staffing, equipment and budgets – long before the seasonal arrival of hot Santa Ana winds that can whip up potentially deadly blazes across Southern California."

"Redding supply cache critical link in northern California fire fight" (Northern California Fires Joint Information Center, 7/6/08)
"Mark Garland and his crew have issued enough fire hose during the past two weeks for a 750-mile hose lay from Redding to Phoenix. Garland and a 32-member crew at the Northern California Interagency Support Cache are responsible for keeping the more than 14,000 firefighters currently working in northern California properly equipped with a huge variety of firefighting equipment. They order, track, store, and ship equipment throughout northern California ... and they have been busy.
PDF file:

"BLM initiates emergency route closures in Ridgecrest Resource Area" (BLM-California news release, 7/4/08)
BLM-California's Ridgecrest Field Office has initiated a closure order of certain routes of travel within the Bright Star Wilderness and Kelso Valley area, to protect property, public lands, and resources. A fire which began on June 28 in the Piute Mountains, Sequoia National Park, is now threatening public lands managed by the BLM within the Bright Star Wilderness and Kelso Valley area.

"Air response from Redding on record-breaking pace" (Northern California Fires Joint Information Center news release, 7/8/06)
"The unprecedented number of fires in Northern California during the past two weeks has elicited a record-breaking pace from smokejumpers and air tanker crews. In just the past two weeks the Redding Smokejumper Base has supported 363 jumps -- already more than their 10-year average of about 320 jumps a season."
PDF file, 20 kilobytes:


Clearing fire danger with a masticator"Fire safe council works to tame future blazes"
(Chico Enterprise-Record, 7/6/08)
"The Yankee Hill Fire Safe Council worked Thursday to take a bite out fire fuels, using a masticator to chew trees and shrubs along Concow Road ... crews worked with the large machine to prevent fire devastation, as smoke from the Butte Lightning Complex fires still lingered in the mountain air. The crews will be working furiously over the next few weeks to complete the project, though ... weather conditions are not ideal for machine use." Work is proceeding with a Bureau of Land Management grant.

"BLM: Don't shoot! Fire danger too high"
(Redding Record Searchlight, 7/8/08)
"The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is ordering target and sport shooters in the north state to hold their fire. Prompted by high fire danger, lack of firefighting resources and safety concerns for rehabilitation workers who soon will be tending to charred lands near some of the shooting areas, the agency is prohibiting shooting on 250,000 acres in Shasta, Tehama, Trinity, Siskiyou and Butte counties...."

RELATED: "BLM’s shooting ban is a sensible nod to fire safety" (Redding Record Searchlight, 7/9/08)
Editorial: "It's easy to understand the frustration of target shooters at recent years' shutdown of popular, long-established gun ranges on federal land in Shasta County ... When rain starts falling and things settle down, the BLM ought to work with target shooters to find ways to create safer places to practice in the summer. But for now, fire safety is a lot more important than sighting in a new rifle or a little can-plinking fun."

RELATED: "BLM fire restrictions prohibit target shooting" (BLM-California news release, 7/7/08)
The Bureau of Land Management’s Redding Field Office has amended its seasonal fire restrictions, adding a prohibition on target and sport shooting on BLM-managed public lands in Shasta, Tehama, Butte, Trinity and Siskiyou counties.

"Herbicide OK'd for gorse control" (Mendocino Beacon, 7/3/08)
"Gorse is an invasive, noxious, highly flammable non-native plant that thrives in coastal areas ... Julie Rogers, Mendocino County Fire Safe Council executive director, said, 'Gorse is a huge fire hazard. It's already an ecological disaster, but it could possibly become a major wildfire disaster. We're committed to dealing with it for the long term.'" The council is using a BLM grant to "focus on areas around roadways where if gorse caught fire, residents wouldn't be able to evacuate and fire engines would be unable to enter."

"After fire, thinning project begins" (Paradise Post, 7/5/08)
"Lightning fires throughout Butte County have made fire safe councils take proactive action against the next blaze. One such project is now being conducted in Concow after the California Fire Safe Council and the Yankee Hill Fire Safe Council secured $91,000 of grant money from the Bureau of Land Management ... [and] brought machinery and hand crews in to create 36 acres of shaded fuel breaks." http://www.paradisepost.com/ci_9790347

"Fire restrictions go into effect on Inyo National Forest and Bishop Field Office BLM public lands" (USDA Forest Service news release, 7/3/08)
"In response to the increasing fire danger and fires already raging in California fire restriction orders have gone into effect immediately. The restrictions are in effect below 9,000 feet in elevation on all Inyo National Forest lands, including wilderness areas, and all Bureau of Land Management public lands managed by the Bishop Field Office."

"At root of most wildfires, by far: People" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 7/5/08)
"Despite fire restrictions, an aggressive public-awareness campaign and plenty of publicity about the effects of blazes caused by man, fire officials say people just aren't getting the message ... In an unusual event, more than 1,500 wildfires erupted in California after lightning strikes ... But ... most fires there are caused by man ... the majority of fires caused by people are the result of carelessness with camp fires ... Then there's those who say they did everything right and refuse to believe their actions led to a wildfire...."


Solar plant in the Mojave Desert"The desert boom" (Fortune, 7/8/08)
"The company was in such a hurry to stake its claim with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management that it applied for a lease sight unseen. ... A solar land rush is rolling across the desert Southwest. Goldman Sachs, utilities PG&E and FPL, Silicon Valley startups, Israeli and German solar firms, Chevron, speculators - all are scrambling to lock up hundreds of thousands of acres of long-worthless land now coveted as sites for solar power plants ... Just 20 months ago only five applications for solar sites had been filed with the BLM in the California Mojave. Today 104 claims have been received for nearly a million acres of land, representing a theoretical 60 gigawatts of electricity. (The entire state of California currently consumes 33 gigawatts annually.)"

"BLM stirs up a desert storm" (San Bernardino County Sun, 7/5/08)
"One man paints a bleak dystopian future in which hundreds of square miles of pristine desert wilderness are scraped flat, sprayed with weed killer and treated with dust-controlling chemicals to make way for an ocean of mirrors drinking power from the sun. The other admits his plan would level the ground 'laser flat' but he promised to be environmentally sensitive about it and that use of chemicals is unlikely. ... What got them talking was an announcement Wednesday by the Bureau of Land Management that it was ending a moratorium on applications for solar projects in the West."

"Solar application moratorium called off" (Associated Press, 7/2/08)
"The government said Wednesday it is calling off a recently announced moratorium on applications to build solar plants on public lands. The Bureau of Land Management made the announcement after public opposition to its original decision, reached at the end of May."

"Sun shines on solar again" (Las Vegas Sun, 7/3/08)
"The Bureau of Land Management clearly had no idea what kind of blowback it would receive when, a month ago, it closed the door on applications to build solar plants on federal land in Nevada and five other Southwest states to buy time to study their environmental consequences. On Wednesday, BLM officials collected themselves, gamely thanked the public for its concerns and reversed its moratorium."

"Mitzelfelt balks at BLM’s solar move" (Victorville Daily Press, 7/2/08)
"San Bernardino County officials bristled Wednesday after the U.S. Bureau of Land Management lifted a moratorium on new applications for solar energy projects in the region. 'All we are asking is that we slow down to make sure these projects don’t do irreparable harm to our shrinking desert,' said 1st District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt, whose district includes much of the Mojave Desert where scores of wind and solar energy projects have been proposed ... 'We are not opposed to alternative energy; we just need to be careful and judicious when we are talking about taking away hundreds of square miles of land that belongs to the American people.'"

"Solar industry pushes tax credit extension" (UPI.com. 7/3/08)
"Solar energy could provide a substantial amount of the nation's electricity if Congress extends federal tax incentives, industry representatives told senators Wednesday. The potential for solar to green the nation and wean it from foreign oil is huge, particularly Concentrating Solar Power, witnesses at a Senate Energy Committee hearing said."

"Energy politics: Solar power" (Forbes, 7/8/08)
"BLM got the message: Do the impact study, but don't stop accepting applications. On Wednesday, the bureau reversed course and said applications would continue apace. Overturning BLM's moratorium isn't the biggest struggle facing the solar industry, though. They're desperate to preserve the Investment Tax Credit that effectively subsidized the industry."


"Second wind turbine proposed for Lucerne Valley" (Victorville Daily Press, 7/3/08)
"A second local wind turbine project was proposed for an area near Camp Rock Road -- the latest example in the statewide push for renewable energy ... FPL Energy of Florida plans to construct 34 turbines -- on just 52 of those acres ... along the ridge of the mountains ... West Fry Wind Project is in talks with the Bureau of Land Management to acquire 3,100 acres by Camp Rock Road in the Johnson Valley Off-Road Vehicle area."

"Keeping the lights on" (North County Times, 7/6/08)
"When it unveiled its Sunrise Powerlink project three years ago, San Diego County's electric utility warned that rolling blackouts like those that swept California during the 2000-01 electricity crisis could return to the region in 2010 without the new power line. Now, because of state delays in evaluating the $1.5 billion project, that high-voltage transmission line -- even if it is eventually approved -- won't be available to help meet the county's peak summer demand for electricity in either 2010 or 2011, utility officials say."

RELATED: "SDG&E threatened with suit over green energy" (North County Times, 7/8/08)
"San Diego City Attorney Michael Aguirre threatened Tuesday to sue the region's dominant utility if it fails to meet a state mandate to generate one-fifth of its power from sources such as the sun and wind by 2010 ... Utility officials have acknowledged they are unlikely to meet the 2010 deadline because they were counting on their proposed $1.5 billion Sunrise Powerlink being ready. The earliest it could now be ready if approved and built is 2011."

RELATED: "'Green' energy project draws fire" (Palm Springs Desert Sun, 7/7/08)
"San Diego Gas and Electric wants to build a large solar power line outside the Coachella Valley, a green idea that local environmentalists say isn't as green as it seems.The plan would include a transmission line known as the Sunrise Powerlink in the Imperial Valley and San Diego County...."

RELATED: "San Diego Gas & Electric Company's Sunrise Powerlink Project" (State of California Public Utilities Commission)
The CPUC is the lead agency for California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management is the lead agency under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The Draft EIR/EIS was released to the public on January 3, 2008.

"Struggling Taft is pumped again about drilling" (Los Angeles Times, 7/1/08)
"The decades have not been kind to Taft. Hemmed in by oil fields, the town has little room to grow ... Thousands of pumps dot the desert around Taft, and many more are coming. With rocketing oil prices, companies have unplugged old wells that were once deemed too costly to operate. Development of new wells has set a pace nearly twice last year's. Chevron alone has tripled its investment in the area since 2004, budgeting more than $900 million this year to find and pump the oil left behind by previous booms."
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"Oil and gas"
California is the nation's fourth largest producer of oil and gas from federal lands. Most of the oil and gas leasing and development on public lands occur in central California, on lands managed by the BLM's Bakersfield Field Office. 


Historic photo of Piedras Blancas Light Station"Keeping the light burning" (San Luis Obispo Tribune, 7/6/08)
"While lighthouses conjure romantic notions of life by the sea, the early keepers of Point Piedras Blancas dealt with isolation, long work days and lots of brutal wind. In fact, the winds were so intense, one light keeper tied a rope from the tower to his house to make it easier to walk without getting blown away ... Today the tower is visibly weathered, sorely in need of a paint job and -- most notably -- missing its top ... Using original blueprints, the BLM plans to restore several of the old structures ... The lighthouse itself will be more costly and, hence, take more time."

"Keeping an historic lighthouse going" (KGET-TV Bakersfield, 7/9/08)
"Maritime experts say there are only a handful of lighthouses still standing on the coast of California. The Piedras Blancas Lighthouse on the central coast has been burning bright for over one hundred-thirty five years. But decades of harsh weather have taken a toll on the historic lighthouse. Now a group of maritime enthusiasts are breathing new life...into the old beacon on the hill."

"Piedras Blancas Light Station Outstanding Natural Area" (BLM-California, Bakersfield Field Office)
Piedras Blancas is named for a white rock out cropping located just off the end of the point, just north of San Simeon. In the early 1870's, this location was chosen to fill the gap between the lighthouses at Point Conception and Point Sur.

Sea otter on his back at sea
Sea otter

WILDLIFE TRIVIA QUESTION of the WEEK: Piedras populations
How do sea otters stay warm in the cool temperatures of the sea?
a. with a layer of blubber, like most marine mammals
b. by staying active almost constantly
c. with air trapped in their fur
d. by huddling together with other sea mammals
e. actually, they can tolerate very low body temperatures
f. by snuggling together in groups called “ottertoriums”
------> See answer -- and more information -- near the end of this issue of News.bytes.

MORE WILDLIFE NEWS: Sea otter prospects, historic wildlife survey

"Population of threatened otters seems to be leveling" (San Luis Obispo Tribune, 7/1/08)
"A new federal report confirms that California’s sea otter population is growing, albeit at a slower rate in recent years ... The iconic coastal species is listed as threatened on the endangered species list ... Using the average, the population is only slightly different from last year, said Brian Hatfield, a wildlife biologist with the U. S Geological Survey at Piedras Blancas."

RELATED: "California Sea Otters: Population recovery continues at slower rate" (U.S. Geological Survey news release, 6/24/08)
"The southern sea otter of California, a threatened population on the Endangered Species list, continues to recover, but the rate of recovery appears to have slowed ... Scientists use 3-year running averages of spring census totals to assess population trends because these averages are more reliable than individual year totals."

Spotting wildlife through binoculars, on the trail of 1908 survey"Scientists retrace steps of 1908 wildlife survey in San Jacinto Mountains" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 7/4/08)
Scientists from the San Diego Natural History Museum "retrace the steps of a landmark wildlife survey in 1908. Over the next two years, they will scour the valleys, meadows and peaks for birds, lizards, mountain lions and all wildlife that call the mountain range home. The modern-day scientists hope to discover what has changed in the types of species, their diets and their habitat in those 100 years and how a warming climate may be affecting them." Includes one-minute narrated photo slide show.

RELATED: "Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument" (BLM-California, Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office)
"The Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument was established by an Act of Congress on October 24, 2000 'in order to preserve the nationally significant biological, cultural, recreational, geological, educational, and scientific values found in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains and to secure now and for future generations the opportunity to experience and enjoy the magnificent vistas, wildlife, land forms, and natural and cultural resources in these mountains and to recreate therein.'"


"Campground and fire lookout rental fees reviewed" (USDA Forest Service news release, 7/3/08)
"The California Recreational Resource Advisory Committee (RRAC) held a meeting June 23 and 24 in Redding to review a wide variety of potential fee changes at BLM and Forest Service recreational sites in California. The RRAC was created with the implementation of the Federal Lands Recreational Enhancement Act. This Act which was signed into law in 2005, provides guidelines for charging fees at federal recreation sites."

"Looking just below the surface" (Sonora Union Democrat, 7/3/08)
" For anyone seriously into gem and mineral collecting ... the hobby can be fascinating and obsessive, expensive or free, can involve art, jewelry-making, fluorescent UV lights, high-powered microscopes and trips into the wilderness to find naturally occurring crystals, petrified wood and other treasures ... Researching places to search and obtaining legal permission to dig there are up to the collector. Much of the land in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties is privately owned. Public lands, supervised by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, have regulations that vary by district, so collectors should contact the office nearest to the place they plan to go."

"Landfill truck traffic poses issues" (Imperial Valley Press, 7/7/07)
"The Mesquite Regional Landfill will begin filling the old Mesquite gold mines with Los Angeles waste next year." Imperial County Supervisor says "because the Imperial County Sand Dunes Area is home to hundreds of thousands of off-road enthusiasts during the winter and early spring months, additional truck traffic could cause hazards."

"Off-road-vehicle bans seem to please no one" (Christian Science Monitor, 7/9/08)
"Environmentalists say latest national-forest restrictions are too lax; ORV fans say they’re too strict ... Congress last month concluded its first hearings on ORV impacts on national forests and millions of acres of public lands overseen by the Bureau of Land Management. While the BLM is taking some action, it is the Forest Service that is charging ahead to regulate ORV use."

MUSTANGS: Folsom cattle drive, adoption event, wild burros

Jason Williams rides ___ in the Folsom Cattle Drive paradePhotos from the parade (News.bytes Extra)
The annual Folsom Pro Rodeo kicks off with a cattle drive through historic Folsom. This year, wild horse and burro compliance specialist Jason Williams, with BLM-California's Folsom Field Office, carried the Wild Horse and Burro Program banner in the parade. See photos:

RELATED: "Folsom cattle drive"
(Folsom Telegraph, 7/2/08)
Photo gallery from the event includes BLM rider as he "cowboys up" before the parade.

Wild ass women with a burro at Reno parade"VC parade brings 'Wild Ass Women'"
(Nevada Appeal, 7/5/08)
"Charlie had glitter on his back, a boa around his neck and streamers tied to his ankles ... He'd been standing in a parking lot for two hours ... and, as the Virginia City Independence Day Parade got ready to start, it looked like it might rain. Charlie hated rain. 'He almost didn't make it today,' said Christina Brokaw of Wild Ass Women, a group that adopts wild donkeys from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management ... Brokaw said the idea that donkeys are uncooperative isn't true."

"Wild horses and burros available to adoption in Lakeside" (BLM-California news release, 7/2/08)
These living legends will be available for adoption at the Pillsbury Ranch in Lakeside, California, on July 25 - 27. Spectators are welcome. Fifty young animals will be available for adoption, 40 wild horses, and 10 burros. The mustangs and burros were gathered from public lands in California and Nevada and have been wormed, vaccinated, and are in excellent health.


"Bureau of Land Management, Society for Range Management present 2007 BLM Rangeland Management Specialist Recognition Awards" (People, Land and Water, June 2007)
"The Bureau of Land Management’s Division of Rangeland Resources and the Society for Range Management annually recognize employees in the field with BLM Rangeland Specialist Recognition Awards...." This year's recipients include BLM-California's Jeff Starosta, for "a track record of outstanding performance in managing the Bishop Field Office rangeland management program since his assignment to the position in October 2005."

Jeff Starosta takes a break at his desk to dust off equipmentRELATED: Photos related to the Rangeland Specialist Recognition Awards
Award recipients pose for a group photo, and BLM-California's Jeff Starosta in the field -- and back in the office, dusting off monitoring equipment while taking a break from computer "paperwork."

"Take Pride in America announces recipients of the 2008 National Award for federal land managers" (Take Pride in America news release, 6/30/08)
BLM-California Arcata Field Office Manager Lynda Roush was named a recipient of this award. "Presented annually, Take Pride in America’s National Awards recognize outstanding volunteer projects and efforts in a variety of categories. This year’s awardees ... are honored for their innovative and successful approaches to recruiting volunteers and cultivating their volunteer programs."


"Proposal to euthanize wild horses spurs debate" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 7/7/08)
"Animal rights activists and ranchers are clashing over a federal proposal to euthanize wild horses as a way to deal with their surplus numbers ... Agency officials said they stepped up the roundups in recent years because of ongoing drought that has left dwindling forage and water for the mustangs. Horse advocates insist the action was taken to placate ranchers."


RELATED: "Saving the wild mustang" (Grass Valley/Nevada City Union, 7/10/08)
"Wild mustangs are running out of wide open spaces, federal land managers don't have enough money to care for them and the poor economy reduced the number of people willing to adopt the animals to a trickle. Penn Valley resident Michele DeCamp is dedicated to finding homes for the horses that might otherwise be euthanized."

"Marijuana worth $2.3 million found growing on state lands in the Santa Cruz Mountains" (Santa Cruz Sentinel, 7/9/08)
"Five pot gardens, two of which were spotted from the air by fire crews battling the Summit Fire in late May, were cut down Monday and Tuesday in Castle Rock State Park and Bureau of Land Management property adjacent to the Soquel Demonstration Forest on Summit Road."

"Environmentalists sue over tortoise removal"
(San Bernardino County Sun, 7/6/08)
"Two environmental groups have filed a federal lawsuit against the Army and the Bureau of Land Management alleging that proper environmental studies were not conducted before nearly 800 desert tortoises were relocated for Fort Irwin's expansion."

RELATED: "Environmental groups sue to stop Fort Irwin tortoise relocation" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 7/2/08)
"A pair of environmental groups filed a federal lawsuit in an attempt to stop the relocation of desert tortoises from Fort Irwin. The Center for Biological Diversity and Desert Survivors filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the Department of the Army Wednesday, alleging that the agencies did not conduct an extensive enough environmental review before relocating the tortoises and failed to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service when the tortoises did not thrive in their new habitat."

"Ex-worker on crusade against chemical plant" (San Francisco Chronicle, 7/6/08)
"Her husband, Steve, had been ill for years, with oozing sores on his skin, shortness of breath and mental confusion. She suspected that it all was tied to a Mojave Desert chemical plant where they both had worked. The company, now named Searles Valley Minerals ... says she has waged a baseless campaign, spewing false allegations about the plant that no regulatory agency has seen fit to act on. Today, the state says the company's injury claim and illness rates are lower than the industry average, and air, water and toxic-substances regulators say the company's record has improved considerably in recent years."

RELATED: "Leasing at Searles Lake" (BLM California, mining and minerals)
Searles Lake is in the community of Trona in northwest San Bernardino County. Searles Lake has been dedicated to mining since the early 1900s and produces boron, borax and soda ash used in in glass manufacturing, fiberglass, detergents, water treatment, and agricultural fertilizers. Mining at Searles Lake is being conducted in accordance with an operating plan first approved by the Federal government in 1974, with various modifications approved by BLM. Minerals are of mixed Federal and private ownership.

"Judge clears Mendocino Redwood plan for Palco, appeal to follow" (Eureka Times-Standard, 7/9/08)
"A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge has signed an order confirming the Mendocino Redwood Co.'s plan to rebuild the Pacific Lumber Co., a deal that will likely close quickly barring a potential stay while major creditors appeal ... Under the plan, Mendocino Redwood ... would then tie together the Scotia sawmill and the timberlands, which they would manage according to Palco's habitat conservation plan, which grew out of the 1999 Headwaters Forest deal. Mendocino Redwood plans to reduce the amount of logging on the Palco property for the first 15 years, and end traditional clearcutting."

RELATED: "Headwaters Forest Reserve" (BLM-California, Arcata Field Office)
The Headwaters Forest Reserve is 7,472 acres of public land located 6 miles southeast of Eureka, CA. The reserve is set aside to protect and preserve the ecological and wildlife values in the area, particularly the stands of old-growth redwood that provide habitat for the threatened marbled murrelet, and the stream systems that provide habitat for threatened coho salmon.

"Current job openings - BLM California" (USAJOBS website)
Current openings include biological science technician, archaeologist, archaeologist technician/aid, biology technician/aid (wildlife) and survey aid/technician.

Tom Acuna, BLM California Desert District Advisory CouncilMEET YOUR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS: Tom Acuna...
...represents transportation and rights-of-way interests on the BLM's California Desert District Advisory council. Read more:

Check our calendar online at:

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related website
(c.) with air trapped in their fur.

SOURCE: "Sea Otter - Enhydra lutris" (BLM California wildlife database)
Unlike most aquatic mammals, sea otters do not have a layer of blubber to insulate them. Instead they are kept warm only by the air that gets trapped in its hair. For this reason, sea otters are very susceptible to freezing to death when oil slicks damage their fur.

RELATED: "Enhydra lutris - sea otter" (University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, Animal Diversity Web)
More information, including several photos, on this website "written largely by and for college students."

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